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Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon at a Glance


Canada, North America

Type of Charcuterie

Smoked, Brined

Main Ingredient


Typical Ingredients

Pork loin, sugar, curing salt, kosher salt, garlic and other spices

Other Names

Peameal bacon, pea meal bacon, back bacon, Irish bacon, short cut bacon, back rashers, Canadian style bacon, smoked tenderloin, Canadian Peameal bacon, cornmeal bacon

Canadian Bacon Description

The Canadian bacon that many people are familiar with today is a case of mistaken identity. While such bacon may have its origins in this country, this is not what it is called in Canada. In this North American country, this charcuterie product is simply called bacon or peameal bacon since it is often covered with dried ground yellow peas.

The popular term Canadian bacon is said to have originated during World War II as a result of meat shortage in England. Back meat was imported from Canada and became known as Canadian bacon. In other parts of the world, this is also known as back bacon.

Aside from the difference in name, the production processes for both of these bacon types differ as well. Both the popular Canadian bacon and Peameal are made from a lean cut of pork. These are usually brined in a mixture of water, curing salt, sugar, kosher salt, garlic and other spices such as sage and thyme. Once the curing is done, peameal bacon is then rolled in cornmeal or Peameal to help preserve it. On the other hand, Canadian bacon is cooked by hot smoking after being brined.

The end result gives these two types of bacon a slightly different taste. The Peameal Bacon tends to be light and mildly salty in favor while Canadian Bacon has a smoky taste. Both of these are reminiscent of ham rather than streaky bacon. Both also have a bright pink color due to the curing, and a slightly sweet taste because of the use of sugar. Likewise, both these bacon types are sliced in a thicker cut and are meant to be eaten without being crisped up. These are often sold in cylindrical cuts, with Peameal bacon surrounded by a yellow outside.

Canadian bacon is suitable for use in sandwiches and salads cold, without being cooked. It may also be cooked further through frying, grilling or baking. Aside from this it may also be used as an additional ingredient in dishes. Peameal bacon often comes half cooked or cooked and may need further preparation.

Photo Credit: artizone
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